When developing the style of a room, we’ve discovered the best approach is to keep it simple.
Domaine Madeleine has experienced its share of changes in its 25 years as a bed and breakfast. Founded by Madeleine Chambers in 1991, this inn was the gold standard in early 90’s French decor. But when Ownership of Domaine Madeleine was taken over by Jeri Weinhold in 1998, she began infusing it with her own penchant for a more Pan-Asian vibe. In addition to specific design decisions, the inn is also influenced by its Pacific Northwest location, natural panoramic views and indigenous flora and fauna. So two-and-a-half decades later when we began our latest round of renovations, we found we were faced with a unique amalgamation of French-Meets-Asian-Meets-Northwest styles.
Moving forward, we realized we needed to focus and refine our design choices. We were starting just shy of a blank canvas, as Domaine Madeleine’s scenic Pacific Northwest location was a given – and a marvelous one. We analyzed the inn’s Asian aesthetic and determined that its appeal wasn’t so much about chinoiserie and ornamentation. What we appreciated was the use of natural materials, harmonious balance, and clean, simple lines – the hallmarks of Zen style. This paired beautifully with the area’s rugged, earthy vistas and at that point, we had our direction. The decision had been made to begin – for the most part – phasing out Domaine Madeleine’s French influences.
We felt so strongly about our new design mantra, we incorporated it into our tag line – “A luxury bed & breakfast inspired by nature”. As we moved forward with updates and renovations, we used that mantra as a yardstick against which to measure the myriad decisions we’d be facing.
In line with our choice to move away from the French motif, we elected to rename our rooms. Previously the accommodations suffered from the same split-personality disorder that pervaded the inn. One room – The Ming – was named for the Asian dynasty. Two rooms – The Renoir and Monet – paid homage to two French artists. Another room – The Rendezvous – was named after the French word that translated roughly as “to meet up”. And finally, there was the utilitarian “Cottage”, more of a vague description than a celebration of anything French or Asian.
We drew inspiration from the natural beauty and iconic locations of the Olympic Peninsula. We also considered the overall feel of the rooms as we rechristened the accommodations. The former “Ming” became the “Hurricane Ridge Suite”. With its second story location and expansive views (of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria, and the New Dungeness Lighthouse), guests get the feeling of being high on a mountain. The Renoir was dubbed the “Hoh Rainforest Suite”, as the panoramic view looks out on towering old growth trees (as well as the ground level view of the strait). The Monet we renamed the “Lake Crescent Suite” with its expansive dock-like private deck, also looking out onto the strait. The Rendezvous became the “Rialto Beach Cottage” (we chose to differentiate between accommodations by referring to those that were in or part of the main house as “suites”, and those elsewhere on the property as “cottages”), as it has a beach-house feel and a yard that overlooks the strait. The Cottage finally received its own identity as the “Sol Duc Falls Cottage” as it is close to our own on-property waterfall, which can be heard from the covered patio with a view of our woodland garden.
We debated for quite a while, and after quite a bit of research, about changing the name of the Bed and Breakfast itself. We decided to keep “Domaine Madeleine” primarily because of its twenty-five-year history and being deeply ingrained in internet search engines as well as still-in-print travel literature.
The first of our physical makeovers began in the Hurricane Ridge Suite. This expansive suite needed only minor updates, as the privacy, amazing view, huge deck, classic wood-burning fireplace, and enormous Roman-style tub remained its most prized features. We removed some heavy, dated and seldom used furnishings in favor of cleaner, simpler pieces with wood and metal finishes. To anchor the suite’s new identity, after the bedroom and bathroom were repainted, a monochrome mural of the snowcapped peaks of Hurricane Ridge was hand-painted on the wall above the headboard. The room also received a new area rug and a larger dining table and chairs to allow guests to enjoy in-room dining options. We also hung the flat screen TV on the wall. A swiveling wall mount allows for flexible viewing and enjoyment of our new Chromecast feature that allows guests to stream video right from their smartphones.
The Lake Crescent Suite received a much more in-depth makeover, particularly in the bathroom. This suite is cozy and inviting and has views from three of its four sides, be it of lush foliage, a flower garden, or the strait. With the least indoor square footage of any of our accommodations, however, every inch of this suite needed to carefully considered. First on the chopping block was the bathroom’s fiberglass corner shower. The angled, frosted glass shower enclosure was replaced by one with sleek, clear, curved glass. The beige wall panels were removed and all new porcelain tiles, with a glass mosaic inlaid stripe were installed. The colors were inspired by the blue of Lake Crescent itself, with accents of pale stone and smoky rock. The sink and other fixtures were intended to evoke a clean, spa-like environment. The bedroom itself, having recently received new paint and a warm wood headboard and nightstands needed only a new, contemporary area rug and another signature mural. This art depicts a view of the lake from an elevated perspective, evoking an Asian scroll with its black line work and watercolor-like hues. The gas fireplace and luxurious bedding remain to facilitate nesting in this intimate space.
Stay tuned for the second part of our update story…